Great Britain

Marco Rubio calls for Biden to go to sensitivity training after calling anti-mask policies 'Neanderthal thinking'

In a stumbling attempt to try to weaponise identity politics against Democrats, Sen. Marco Rubio called for Joe Biden to take sensitivity training for calling a recent decision by lawmakers "Neanderthal thinking."

During a press conference on Thursday, Mr Biden was asked to respond to recent decisions by lawmakers in Texas and Mississippi to end their mask mandates and to completely reopen their states.

"The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that, in the mean time, everything is fine, take off your mask, forget it," he said. "It still matters."

Mr Rubio took to Twitter to call for Mr Biden to seek sensitivity training for insulting "modern Europeans" by using Neanderthal as an insult.

"President Biden’s use of an old stereotype is hurtful to modern Europeans, Asians & Americans who inherit about 2 per cent of their genes from Neanderthal ancestors," he said. "He should apologize for his insensitive comments and seek training on unconscious bias."

The Neanderthals are an extinct species of human that became the inspiration for the memetic image of "the caveman" that most people from Western cultures would recognise.

Neanderthals were long considered to be unintelligent and backwards, but further research has long dispelled that idea. However, due to the cultural association between Neanderthals and stupidity, calling someone a Neanderthal is still used as an insult.

Mr Rubio included a link to a CNN article from last year detailing how scientists now believe that all modern humans possess some degree of Neanderthal DNA.

Texas and Mississippi are not the only states rolling back their mask mandates; Alabama, Montana and Iowa are also declaring that masks will not longer be necessary.

The proclamations directly undermine Mr Biden's call for all Americans to regularly wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Government officials and health experts both have stressed the importance of continued mask usage as physicians and nurses work to inoculate the country.

In total, there are 17 states that either have rescinded their mask policies or never instated one.

As with other states without mask policies, private businesses and organisations can still choose to require customers to wear face masks.

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